Sony G Master Lenses

February 5th, 2016


Sony today launched an entirely new brand of interchangeable lenses: the G Master. This line will represent the best of what Sony has to offer in terms of optics.

The brand will launch with 3 new E-mount lenses: the 24-70mm f/2.8, 85mm f/1.4, and 70-200mm f/2.8.

“The new G Master brand represents the finest and most impressive group of lenses that Sony has ever brought to market,” says Sony VP Neal Manowitz. “With our knowledge of what the future will bring for digital imaging, we have designed these lenses and can ensure that the G Master brand will inspire and ‘wow’ photographers and videographers for years to come.”

The 24-70mm f/2.8 features special elements for reducing aberrations and increasing resolution, a 9-bladed aperture, special coatings for reduced reflections, a direct drive SSM (Super Sonic Wave Motor) for fast and quiet focusing, dust and moisture resistance, and a compact design


The 85mm f/1.4 lens has an 11 blade circular aperture (the most offered in an α lens) for smooth bokeh, Nano AR coating for reducing flare and ghosting, a ring drive SSM motor, dust and moisture resistance, and an aperture ring with on/off switchable click stops (for smooth adjustments during video recording).


The new 70-200mm f/2.8 features special coatings (Nano AR and fluorine), a floating focusing system (the first in an α zoom lens) for improved AF performance, a minimum focusing distance of just 0.96m (~3.15ft), a SSM and dual linear motors, Optical SteadyShot image stabilization, dust and moisture resistance, a focus hold button, and a focal range limiter.

Finally, Sony has also announced 1.4x and 2x teleconverters as part of the new lineup.


The 24-70mm and 85mm will be available in March 2016 for £1,800 and £1,500, respectively. The 70-200mm and the teleconverters will be available in June 2016, but pricing has yet to be announced.

Sony α6300

February 5th, 2016




Sony has announced its new flagship APS-C camera, the new a6300. It is a mirrorless camera with the world’s fastest autofocus speed and the world’s highest number of autofocus points.


A new 4D Focus system can lock onto a subject in as little as 0.05 seconds, which sets a new record among interchangeable lens cameras with APS-C sensors.

The camera also has an almost unbelievable 425 phase detection AF points — the world’s highest number among interchangeable lens cameras — that are densely placed across the entire frame (it’s 7.5x more dense than in the α6000).


These points help the camera perform fast and accurate continuous autofocusing while shooting at 11fps, and the enhanced tracking and AF are also compatible with A-mount lenses connected via adapter — a first for a Sony APS-C camera. This AF system makes it an absolute weapon for sports or wildlife photographers.

Inside the a6300 is a 24.2 megapixel APS-C Exmor CMOS sensor with an ISO range of 100 to 51200. “The new image sensor employs copper wiring in its structure,” Sony says, “which improves light collection efficiency and significantly accelerates readout speed.”


On the back of the camera is a beautiful XGA OLED Tru-Finder electronic viewfinder with 2.4 million dots and a 120fps framerate mode for smooth subject tracking. Below it is a tilting LCD screen.



The magnesium alloy body is resistant to dust and moisture, and has 9 customizable buttons that can be used to operate 64 different functions.


Now for the really exciting stuff! Video, increasingly so very important, the a6300 can capture 4K with full pixel readout and no pixel binning in Super 35mm — another first for a non-full-frame Sony camera, bringing professional level video recording to APS-C.

It will also do Full HD at 120fps, S-Log gamma recording (with approximately a 14-stop latitude), S-Gamut for a wider color space, Gamma Display Assist for monitoring images and checking focus while recording, and enhanced Zebra functionality.

Other features and specs of the camera include silent shooting, a microphone line input, Wi-Fi, and NFC.

The new Sony a6300 will be available from Castle Cameras in March 2016 with a RRP of £900 for the body only or £1000 when paired with a 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 kit lens. Pre-order yours now

Canon EOS-1 DX MarkII

February 2nd, 2016

The Empire Strikes Back!

EOS-1D X Mark II
Following Nikon’s announcement last month of their flagship camera, the D5, Canon today hit back hard with the announcement of the 1D X Mark II, its latest flagship DSLR. Canon calls the camera the “ultimate combination of image quality, resolution and speed”.

At its heart is a newly designed 20.2-megapixel full frame CMOS sensor with an ISO range of 100 to 51200 (expandable to 409600). The sensor has been improved to have less noise at higher ISOs.


The autofocus system is a huge 61-point High Density Reticular AF II system that boasts 41 cross-type points and a coverage that’s 8.6% larger in the top and bottom of the central CF area (and 24% larger in the top and bottom of the peripheral frame). The sensitivity of the center point has been improved to -3 EV with compatibility down to f/8.


The real weapon this camera poses is it’s Dual DIGIC 6+ image sensors giving it blazing performance. You can shoot at up to 16 frames per second when in Live View mode, or 14fps for standard continuous shooting (the same rate as the original 1D X), storing 170 RAW photos in just moments via the camera’s CFast 2.0 card slot. There’s also CompactFlash compatibility.
The shutter unit is rated for 400,000 frames, and the mirror mechanism has been improved to reduce vibration while moving up and down at high speeds.


Video wise, Canon has pulled out all the stops. The 1D X Mark II can shoot 4K video at 60fps, pounding the Nikon D5 and it’s 4K at 30fps. There are “virtually no restrictions” to video recording, Canon says. exFAT support allows videos larger than 4GB to be recorded without having to merge files.

One of the interesting new features in the 1D X is built-in image optimization. Canon’s new Digital Lens Optimizer technology stores information about the optical flaws of lenses and then digitally fixes those things on the fly with virtually zero decrease in camera speed. For the first time in a Canon EOS DSLR, the camera can automatically correct for peripheral brightness, chromatic aberration, distortion (barrel and pincushion), and diffraction (blurring at small apertures) — things that were previously corrected in post-production.


Another great new feature is a 3.2-inch 1.62-million-dot touchscreen LCD that allows you to touch to focus. A first for a EOS-1 camera.

There’s also a new Intelligent Viewfinder II that lets you make settings changes without taking your eye off your subject: it presents AF points in red (better for dark environments) and shows much more info in the LCD display than before. The viewfinder’s info/features include electronic level, a grid, flicker detection, white balance, metering mode, and AF details.

Other specs and features in the 1D X Mark II include a 360,000-pixel metering sensor with accurate subject tracking for stills and video, 8.8MP still frame grabbing while shooting 4K video, 1080p video (with uncompressed HDMI out) at up to 120fps for slow motion, and GPS.

Here’s a video introduction to the new Canon 1D X Mark II:

The Canon 1D X will cost £5199 and will be with us in May 2016. Pre-order yours now.

Canon announce G9X, G5X and M10

October 13th, 2015

The best things in life are free, or come in three’s, or come in small packages or something like that! Anyway however the saying goes, Canon have today hit us with three new gorgeous small form factor cameras.

First up, two more additions to the GxX line. Canon’s G line of cameras offer better quality and controls than the typical cheap point and shoot. With two new members of the family, the G9X and the G5X, you have whole lot of options, depending just how much camera you want to carry.

Last year with the G7X Canon introduced a very nice 20 megapixel one-inch sensor into a pocket-size camera. This year’s G3X housed the same sensor but with a huge zoom lens attached. These new cameras are similar beasts. They have the same one-inch sensor, which means they’ll have very similar image quality. The big differences are their size and external features.

G5X – £629


The G5X is the beefier of the new cams, and it is mostly so because it features a built-in 2.36 million dot OLED electronic viewfinder. Yay!


EVFs have been growing steadily in performance and popularity, and Canon has stubbornly refused to include one in its cameras until now. Electronic viewfinders makes it easier to shoot in bright light and add stability when holding the camera to your face so it is a very welcome addition.

EC395 Lifestyle 004

The lens is the same 24-100mm f/1.8-2.8 equivalent glas, used on the G7X. The camera inherits the Digic 6 processor as well inside. Additions include a hot-shoe for a microphone or flash, as well as an extra dial on the front for controlling exposure more easily. The camera aslo adds an LCD that flip-outs fully rotates.

G9X – £399

PowerShot G9 X BK FRT 02

Smallest possible footprint is the approach with the G9X. It’s about the size of Canon’s older Powershot cameras like the S120 and S100. You’ll have no problem fitting this one in your trouser pocket. It too has the same sensor and processor as its latest G-series brethren.

PowerShot G9 X BK Top Lens out

What you’re giving up with the small size is the tilting LCD—the G5X has a completely flat and fixed display, and some zoom range. Instead of a 24-100mm lens, the G9X has a 24-70mm f/2.8-4.9.

Of course, there are also fewer buttons and dials. You’ll be forced to rely on Canon’s touch interface for most settings changes—which isn’t the end of the world! Canon has pretty well-designed touch menu functionality. There is also a control ring around the lens, which performs different functions depending on the mode and settings.

The M10 – £399

Coming hot on the heels of the M3 released earlier this year, the EOS M10 has the same 18-megapixel resolution as the old EOS M, but it has Canon’s faster 49-point Hybrid AF II autofocus system (though not the Hybrid AF III system in the EOS M3).

EOS M10_WH  FST EF-M 15-45mm f3.5-6.3 IS STM (bk) BEAUTY

The EOS M10 also has a DIGIC 6 processor, Canon’s most advanced to date, compared to the DIGIC 5 processor in the original EOS M, and while this has little impact on the continuous shooting speed (up from 4.3fps in the EOS M to 4.6fps) or ISO range (still ISO 100-12,800), it does seem to make a big difference to the EOS M10’s buffer capacity. It can’t store many raw files before the buffer fills up (just 7) but Canon says the EOS M10 can capture up to 1,000 JPEG images in a burst.

The M10, G5X and the G9X will all ship early November, look out for our pre-ordering, coming soon!

Swarovski In-Store Day

October 6th, 2015

Meet the crown jewel of optics

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Probably the best binoculars and spotting scopes in the world.


Today we have Karl Fletcher from Swarovski with us in our Bournemouth store, he is here until 3pm with a range of Swarovski’s incredible optics.

He will demonstrate and answer any questions you might have about binoculars, spotting scopes and anything else Swarovski.

Come and try the fabulous EL, SLC and CL ranges of Binoculars and the ATX modular scope system.

When it comes to optical glass, there really is nothing better. 



The EL c/w Field Pro Package binoculars from Swarovski with new pricing in-store from today, 10×32 now £1495 


The Big Butterfly Count Photo Competition Winners

September 18th, 2015

During the summer we were delighted to sponsor the photo competition for this years Big Butterfly Count in conjunction with Butterfly Conservation.

David Attenborough launched the count on the 17th July and people from all over the UK went out into the wild to record sightings of our nation’s butterflies. During the count the photo competition took place with people entering their images to the count’s Flickr photo pool.

Three winning images were picked from the many wonder entries and are as follows:

1st Place

Samantha Batty’s delicately beautiful shot of a Common Blue claimed the crown for this year’s Big Butterfly Count photo competition. Horticulturist Samantha from Doncaster, South Yorkshire, took the picture in her wildlife-friendly garden. She said: “There are a number of Common Blues in the meadow area and I noticed this male on a Gaura flower looking stunning with its blue wings contrasting with the white petals.”

2nd Place


Nick Hatton’s vibrant and striking shot of a Green-veined White nestled amongst saxifrage, claimed second place. Nick, a welder from Sandbach, Cheshire, who has been photographing butterflies for many years, captured the image in his garden.

3rd Place


Wildlife enthusiast Allen Holmes needed an early start to get his stunning shot of two dew-soaked Marbled Whites. Warehouse operative Allen from Rotherham, South Yorkshire, arrived at Yorkshire Wildlife Trust’s Brockadale Reserve early in the morning to photograph the soggy butterflies before the sun dried them out.

The judges were once again spoilt for choice with nearly 2,000 photos entered for consideration. Thanks again to everyone who took part. The three winners will receive vouchers donated by us, Castle Cameras

5DSR vs 5D3 quick detail comparison

September 10th, 2015

I’m currently producing a video review of the new Canon 5DSR, in which I compare it to the 5D3 to see how much more detail the £3K you will be paying for 5DSR gives you!

Here is a shot of a microSD card in our Swarovski cabinet. I took the same shot of the scene on both cameras, using identical exposure settings, both on a tripod with the same lens.

Here is the 5DSR shot (click to see full size):

5DSR Review-1


And the 5D3 shot (click to see full size):

5DSR Review-5


And a very close up crop of both images (click to see full size):



The top half is the 5DSR and the bottom the 5D3. As you can see, there isn’t much in it! Look out for our full video review coming soon.

Nikon announce 3 stunning new lenses

August 4th, 2015

Nikon announced three stunning new lenses today, the 24mm f/1.8G, 200-500mm f/5.6G VR and 24-70mm f/2.8G VR

AF-S NIKKOR 24mm f/1.8G ED


Today Nikon extends its versatile f/1.8 line-up of prime lenses with the all-new AF-S NIKKOR 24mm f/1.8G ED. Lighter and more compact than its brother, this fast FX-format lens easily captures dynamic, immersive images.


This new lens is a great addition to Nikon’s f/1.8 line-up and gives the wide-angle series a definitive edge. It offers exceptional image quality and low-light performance, ensuring photographers can capture beautiful scenes and atmospheric shots. Not only this, movie shooters who want to create a cinematic feel can achieve this and deliver excellent video. The compact and lightweight design also makes it an ideal travel companion, and ensures that it is built to last.

Available to pre-order soon, RRP £629

AF-S NIKKOR 24-70mm f/2.8E ED VR


Nikon updates its ‘holy trinity’ of fast zoom lenses with the brand new AF-S NIKKOR 24-70mm f/2.8E ED VR. The beneficiary of a complete overhaul, the most widely used professional zoom lens in the NIKKOR line-up is now faster, stronger, and steadier than ever.


The 24-70mm is a new and improved update to the already successful 24-70mm f/2.8G. Nikon has improved every aspect of this legendary lens in terms of image quality, construction, build and speed, as well as adding more stability with VR, minimising camera shake and allowing photographers to shoot at slower shutter speeds. This is an exceptional lens built to keep up with the demands of the professional photographer.

Available to pre-order soon, RRP £1849

AF-S NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR

Nikon unveils a brand new ‘big zoom’ and introduces a whole new level of super-telephoto versatility. Packed with the latest lens technologies, the AF-S NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR offers incredible reach.


Whether you shoot wildlife, birds, planes, or amateur sports, this powerful new FX-format zoom delivers unwavering performance. The new 200-500mm lens is an exciting addition to Nikon’s super-telephoto range, as it offers exceptional reach, enables consistent speed and smooth control, and it won’t break the bank. The 200-500mm is an exciting option for photographers who want that extra reach when capturing distant subjects at an affordable price.


Available to pre-order soon, RRP £1179

Rental Customer Shots

July 16th, 2015

If you didn’t know already, here at Castle Cameras we offer a comprehensive range of rental equipment from our friends at Canon including such rare beauties as the 5D3, 1DX, 100-400 mkII, 24-70mk II, 85mm 1.2 and coming soon, the 5DS r. With prices starting at just £20 a day, renting with Castle Cameras is a great way to try before you buy or just borrow that dream piece of camera gear you’ve always wanted to try. Find out more on our website

We love to find out what our rental customers get up to and we were blown away by the images our friend James from Bad-JuJu shooting for U.S. based magazine, Hop Up took recently at the Pendine Sands Vintage Hot Rod Association meeting in early July. James rented our Canon 5D mark III from us for the event and used it to great effect capturing these beautiful and exciting images. To see the full set of images head over to Hop Up magazine here







Dorset Macmillan Bike Ride 2015

July 6th, 2015

Once again Castle Cameras were on hand at the finish line to capture the riders as they completed their rides. Many Congratulations to everyone who took part, your efforts make such a difference to this very worthwhile cause. Enjoy a selection of photos of the riders from yesterday;